Following is a bonus addition to the Stable Personalities article in the July 2019 Horse Sport, written by Lesley Grant-Law:
I started turning Fleur out at night, and every night I would go up to her field after dinner with a book and just sit in the field with her. She was so suspicious and flighty she wouldn’t come near me and instead would stand in the corner with her head held high and just stare at me. I would sit, read my book, and then leave after 25 minutes or so, never approaching her. After about 10 days, she started to come closer and closer to me until finally she would graze within 15 feet of me – but, of course, if I moved, she would toss her head, spin and bolt. After two weeks she accepted me; it was like she just accepted that I was part of her herd (the only one in her herd, actually) and she would come over and nose me and then just quietly eat grass beside me as I read.
I have never before or after tried to do anything like this with a horse before, but desperate times called for desperate measures and it seems to have worked, as things got much better after this. It seems I had been approved by Fleur.
Even after she approved of me, she was still quite sharp the first year. She got me off once or twice unintentionally by spinning and bolting. I don’t think she has ever meant to dump me; it’s just that her flight instinct was so very strong at the start. Over time, although she is still the most observant horse I have ever had, she has grown a quiet but very strong confidence and almost become quite aggressive within it. She seems to know that she is different and very talented. Although there is the odd moment where I can feel her thinking about leaving the scene, most of the time now when she sees something different she takes an aggressive stance towards it like she would attack it.
It’s embarrassing, but I almost feel as if we are all being judged by Fleur almost daily. After a very good test or great cross-country run, I will throw my arms around her neck and she will stand there begrudgingly as I profess my adoration for her. I can almost hear her say, “Well, of course you love me. Now pull yourself together and go get me my mints. You are acting like a fool.”
IIt’s not every day or every year that I get to be so excited about such a horse and I am so very grateful to the to the Browns for allowing me the opportunity with such a horse, and to Fleur for allowing me into her world.